What is chikungunya fever?

Chikungunya fever is a viral disease transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which tends to be active during the day. Symptoms typically occur a few days to a week after the bite and range from a sudden onset of high fever, chills and headaches to redness of the eyes, muscle and joint pain and a rash, usually on the trunk and extremities. Joint swelling, especially in the small joints of the hands and feet, can also occur. For certain infected persons (approx. 5-10%), severe joint swelling and pain persist for several months or even years after the fever has subsided.

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In which countries does chikungunya occur?

Chikungunya occurs on the Indian subcontinent, South East Asia and the Pacific islands, Central and South America including the south of the USA, the Caribbean islands, sub-Saharan Africa (but also Mali, Sudan and Chad) and the Arabian Peninsula. There have also been isolated outbreaks in southern European countries.

How can I protect myself against chikungunya?

In Switzerland, a vaccination against the chikungunya virus is currently not approved. However, preventive measures can be taken to protect against mosquito bites (such as mosquito repellent on the skin and impregnated/insecticide-treated clothing), the use of mosquito nets and wearing long clothing).


What else should I know about chikungunya?

  • The chikungunya virus is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which can also transmit dengue and Zika viruses.

  • The symptoms of chikungunya are similar to other infectious diseases such as malaria. As it is important to treat malaria quickly with medication, we recommend that you consult a doctor if you have these symptoms. In this way, the necessary laboratory tests can quickly provide certainty and the necessary treatment can be initiated. 

  • Chikungunya fever often begins with a fever, followed by joint pain, before other symptoms appear. The acute symptoms usually subside within 1 (to max. 2 ) weeks.

  • There is no treatment for the virus itself. Symptoms can be alleviated with paracetamol (Dafalgan). Before taking any other anti-inflammatory (pain) medication, you should have the diagnosis confirmed by a doctor.

  • If you contract the chikungunya virus, you should ensure that you have optimum protection against further mosquito bites in order to prevent the virus from spreading.

  • Further information on chikungunya can be found on the FOPH or HealthyTravel websites.

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